Oven BBQ Chicken

IMG_1865This is the lone piece of chicken left over from our dinner last night.  I forgot to snap a picture before we gobbled everything else up.  I followed The Pioneer Woman’s recipe to a T and the result was delicious.  The one thing I might do differently next time is to skip baking the underside of the thigh for the first 25 minutes and instead, let the skin on the topside have a chance to crisp up for 25 minutes before being slathered with the BBQ sauce for the rest of the baking time.  I also lined my baking sheet with foil first for an easier clean up.  Will definitely be making this again.

The Pioneer Woman; Oven BBQ Chicken

Authentic Carbonara

Apparently the carbonara recipe I’ve been using all my life is blasphemous.  Yeah, yeah, my old recipe included cream, among other “wrong” ingredients.  So I decided to follow along with Jamie Oliver and try his more classic version:

I didn’t manage to get quite as authentic as I wanted.  My grocery store did not carry guanciale (cured pig cheek), so I had to go with regular bacon, as fatty as I could find.  I would have substituted pancetta, but what was available was very lean and as rendered fat is a main ingredient, I went with the bacon.  My grocery store also did not carry pecorino romano cheese, so I had to stick with fresh parmesan.  Other than that, I followed his recipe and method fairly closely.  The result was a simple, delicious pasta, slick and creamy without any cream!carbanara03

I’m going to leave rough instructions, basically as a reminder for myself of what I did.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 to 1 pound spaghetti

1/4 pound bacon, pancetta or guanciale, chopped

1 egg + 2 egg yolks

grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

fresh ground pepper

one or two garlic cloves, mashed

hot pasta water

DIRECTIONS

1. Boil water and cook spaghetti.

2. In frying pan, cook chopped bacon with garlic.  Add pepper to taste.

2. When bacon is cooked and fat is rendered, remove garlic and add dripping pasta to the frying pan.  Stir to coat.  Add a few more spoonfuls of hot water and stir.

3.  Mix about a tablespoon of grated parmesan with eggs and pour over hot pasta.  Stir to coat.  Add another spoonful or two of hot water if more sauce is needed and toss.

4. Sprinkle with a little more cracked pepper and parmesan.  Done!

Tortellini, Sausage & Spinach Soup

tortellinisausagesoupThis was a lovely Plan B on a rainy October evening when I discovered that I had not marinated the chicken for the dinner I had originally planned to make.  This is super easy, tasty, comfort food.

TORTELLINI, SAUSAGE & SPINACH SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage (depending how meaty you like your soup)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5 cups chicken broth (about)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (9 oz.) package refrigerated fresh cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 (6 oz.) package baby spinach, coarsely chopped (6 cups)

    Grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

    PREPARATION DIRECTIONS:

  • HEAT oil in Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add crumbled sausage, onion and garlic. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in chicken broth. Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.
  • ADD tortellini; simmer 5 to7 minutes. Add half & half. Bring to a simmer.
  • STIR in spinach. Simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors.
  • Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Greek Flank Steak Salad

mothers-day-steak-salad-greek_vothkm

What an awesome salad for a hot, summer’s day.  (To be honest, I forgot to take a picture of the one I made, so I stole this picture, which is very similar.)  I marinated the steak the night before, grilled it up, chilled it, and put the salad together right before dinner.  It was perfection.

marinade:

3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs Greek seasoning
1 cup olive oil

flank steak (any size)

Mix the marinade together and place in zip lock bag with flank steak.  Refrigerate overnight.  Grill or broil the next day about 3 or 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the steak), keeping some pink in the middle.  Let meat rest about ten minutes and then thinly slice against the grain.  Refrigerate until ready to make salad.

For the salad, I added the following ingredients:

lettuce

sliced cucumber
thinly sliced red onion
chopped tomato
sliced red pepper
olives
feta cheese

I drizzled the Lighthouse Greek dressing I had on hand over the salad, but making a Greek dressing is super easy (lots of recipes online) and then topped with the chilled steak.  Delish!

Cassoulet

cassouletThis is an Americanized version of a French meat and bean dish.  It can be very casual and “peasanty,” or dressed up and fancy.  This version is not fancy.  It also hit the spot perfectly on a cold, January night.  Growing up, my mother used to make this particular recipe for us.

CASSOULET

2 cups cubed beef or pork
olive oil, 2 or 3 TBS
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup boiling water
1 herb bouquet (Bouquet Garni )
1 lb. baked beans in tomato sauce
1/2 pound sausage links or cakes, browned
1/2 cup chili sauce
3 TBS buttered bread crumbs

 

Season meat with salt and pepper.  Sauté in olive oil until browned on all sides.  Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is golden brown.  Add water and herb bouquet (I had to google what that was and then I simply added some of the general spices included in an herb bouquet); bring to boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Spray a casserole dish with Pam.  Layer half the beans on the bottom.  Remove meat from sauté pan with slotted spoon and layer on beans.  Add sausage.  Top with second half of beans.

To the onions in liquid, mix in chili sauce and pour over casserole.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350º until bubbling and hot.  Top with buttered bread crumbs the last 15 minutes of baking.

 

Gazpacho with Crab

crabgazpacho Why didn’t I think of this before!  Here are two of my favorite foods paired together.  Normally I make gazpacho as a side dish, but wanted to serve it as a main dish this week.  We are experiencing a heat wave in the Seattle area and using the oven or stove is unthinkable.  To solve my problem, I made this delicious cold soup and topped it with chunks of fresh crab meat (thank you, Costco!).

Gazpacho

1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 TBS chopped parsley or cilantro (depending on preference)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 cups tomato or V8 juice (I use V8)

fresh crab meat, 1 to 2 cups

Chop ingredients as finely or as chunky as you prefer.  Combine all ingredients except crab and chill thoroughly (at least four hours).  Before serving, pile as much or as little crab as you prefer into the soup.  This soup is also lovely topped with homemade garlic croutons.

Sesame Shrimp Salad

sesameshrimpsaladThis was an easy salad which I pulled together quickly.  I’m only posting it so that I remember to  make it more often.  I happened to have a nice bottle of sesame ginger vinaigrette which I marinated the shrimp in, grilled them up and threw the salad together.

1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled

fresh baby spinach

shredded carrots

scallions, chopped

toasted sliced almonds (bake raw almonds at 350º for five to ten minutes, or until golden)

sesame dressing of your choice

1. Marinate shrimp in about a half cup of dressing for a half hour and grill until pink all the way through.  (I used my panini maker as a grill.  As both sides of the shrimp were being grilled at the same time, it only took about three minutes to cook the shrimp.)

2. Put together all salad ingredients and drizzle with more sesame vinaigrette.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing

shrimpsalad2

Tonight was a hot night in Seattle and this was the perfect chilled meal.  I made the dressing and cooked the shrimp in the morning when the house was still cool and placed both in the fridge.  At dinner time, I quickly put the salad together and was so excited to eat it that I forgot to sprinkle cilantro and peanuts over the top!  Even so, this was simply delicious.  I’ve never worked with miso before.  I’ve had miso soup plenty of times, but other than that, I’m not sure I’ve had it anything else until this evening.  The dressing is a sweet lime one.  It’s different from anything I’ve tasted before and at first, I wasn’t sure what I thought, but with each bite, I became a huge fan.  I am already looking forward to having this salad for lunch again tomorrow, but this time, I wont forget the cilantro and peanuts.

I found the recipe on this blog: A Pinch of Yum.  The only changes I made were to add carrots and substitute sugar for agave (didn’t have any) in the dressing and I actually halved the amount of sugar as well.

INGREDIENTS
For the salad:
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ pound raw shrimp, tails removed
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1½ cups sliced avocados (2 small), diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 or 2 carrots, shredded or matchstick
  • 4 cups chopped spinach or baby kale
  • fresh chopped cilantro for topping
  • peanuts for topping
For the dressing:
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh peeled ginger, grated
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I used Canola)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1½ tablespoons white miso
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shrimp; sprinkle with the chili powder and cayenne directly in the pan. Saute for a few minutes on each side until the shrimp are no longer clear and have a nice golden color on the outside.
  2. Chop the spinach or baby kale into small bite sized pieces.  Add avocado, cucumber, carrots and shrimp.
  3. Puree all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately (or store the individual parts separately in the refrigerator until ready to serve). Top with fresh cilantro and peanuts for crunch.

Aunt Bethann’s Banana Pudding

bananapudding This recipe is something special.  I’m not going to claim that it will “change your life” like many other exuberant food bloggers do when touting a favorite recipe.  But I will say that I have no interest in banana pudding – or any pudding, for that matter – unless it is this recipe.  I brought it to a potluck once where the host and hostess actually fought over the last few spoonfuls left in the dish (which I was waiting to wash and take home with me).  I don’t know if it’s the bananas coated in lemon juice, or the sweetened condensed milk, or simply all the ingredients coming together in perfect harmony, but whatever the reason, it’s a delicious dessert.  I made this for our Easter dinner.

 

INGREDIENTS:
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
vanilla wafers

3 medium bananas, sliced

1 TBS lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:
1. In large mixing bowl, combine EAGLE BRAND® and water. Add pudding mix; beat until well blended. Chill 5 minutes.  Fold in whipped cream.

2. Combine sliced bananas and lemon juice in a separate bowl.

3. In a trifle dish or glass bowl, place a layer of vanilla wafers to cover bottom.  Scoop and spread 1/4 of pudding mixture over wafers.  Add a layer of bananas.  Add another 1/4 layer of pudding.  Add a layer of vanilla wafers.  Add another 1/4 layer of pudding.  Add a layer of bananas.  Top with last of pudding mixture.  (You can see from my picture that I like to add vanilla wafers up the side of the trifle dish as well.)

Chill thoroughly and store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

 

 

 

Greek Chicken Sauté

Greekchickensaute I apologize for the picture; it’s not pretty.  However, the meal was delicious.  This is the kind of meal I would happily eat every week.  It’s got all my favorite Greek flavors (lemon, garlic, Kalamata olives and feta) and it’s easy to prepare.  It’s a winner in my book (unfortunately, my children do not agree).  I stayed pretty true to the original recipe (here) with only some minor changes.

GREEK CHICKEN SAUTE´

ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs. pounds chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 30 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

preparation

Whisk 1/2 cup oil, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons oregano, and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside 3 tablespoons dressing for tomatoes.  Place chicken and remaining dressing in a zip lock bag.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.

Toss olives, tomatoes, feta, remaining 2 teaspoons oregano, and reserved dressing in medium bowl. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  Pour tomato mixture over chicken pieces and cover.  Heat for about five minutes or until hot and serve.